Last Sunday was stuffed full of freedom like a donut with jelly—the kind that drips down your chin as you laugh with delight. I got to stroll around my hometown in the sunshine; slurp an enormous smoothie; watch a man in a wolf mask play violin; wander through market stalls filled with hippie goods; and hear a man selling soap tell a joke with the punchline, “So god turned him into a woman and she walked across the bridge!” And all this was before the tornado warning, basement picnic, and hours of stories and secrets told in the back bedroom.
Homespun therapy didn’t occur because of the places I explored or things I did, but because I experienced them with someone who knows me. Sure, my friend Jenn and I hadn’t seen each other since my father’s memorial service over 8 years ago, but we knew one another’s pasts and personalities. We still understood the inner bits that matter, even with a near decade slung between us like a suspension bridge buried in fog.
What enveloped my heart as I sat with Jenn, walked with Jenn, and talked with Jenn was a natural freedom to be absolutely honest, completely myself, and laughing uproariously about it. Our conversation, stories, and jokes were a balm on the slice of my being many would call a soul. It’s that gnarled bit of me that is unprotected from the events of life. It dangles precariously on a precipice, beaten raw by the wind and bleached by the salt in the swells below. Oh, my life isn’t always so jarring, but lately I’ve felt as if it’s been one wave crashing forward after another. There is no barrier between my deepest, most vulnerable sense of self, and all of life’s changes and moods. Yes, vulnerable … that’s the best word for this kind of inner nakedness.
The peace I received from Jenn’s presence and openness was as medicinal as writing used to be for me. Before the term “blogging” was coined, I was scrawling my personal insights, questions, and (rather boring) life’s stories into both paper and online journals. I frequently gave away too much information, but my examinations were honest and forthright. I was a typical teenager with a diary at that stage: God, boys, school, and friends were some of my favorite topics.
My life was fairly simple (even if I didn’t see it as such at the time); yet there was a magic to writing that drew me closer to those who read my words. Reading a journal was an investment in someone’s inner life. You saw an unashamed, unapologetic view of their thoughts and feelings, and there was a conversation and exchange that followed. Some of the friends I made back in the old online journaling days are still present in my life today. Why? I think it’s because they know me—like Jenn knows me. After sharing your true self with someone, and bring them along in your story, an intimacy is created whether you realize it or not.
So what happened to the intimacy in my writing? Did it go away when I limited myself to being “Godless Girl” and writing an “atheist blog?” There are a truck load of atheist bloggers about who usually talk through the same subjects and news bulletins. Nothing is wrong with that, and obviously I enjoy it myself or I wouldn’t do it… but lately I’ve missed writing. In fact, when someone asks me what I want to be when I grow up (And I don’t know if I ever will), I find myself sighing whistfully and muttering something obscure about “getting back into writing” or “finding a creative outlet.”
I don’t have a paper journal anymore. I am not interested in keeping one at this time. What I need is the medicinal experience that sending my words out into the universe can provide. Even if it bores a reader or three to absolute insanity, it would be good for me.